Seriki Adinoyi in Jos
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has filed a cross-appeal at the Court of Appeal sitting in Jos, Plateau State capital, against the judgment of a Federal High Court in Gombe, which partially upheld a no-case submission by former Governor Danjuma Goje.
The commission tried Goje on an amended N5 billion fraud charge.
He was charged along with Alhaji Aliyu El-Nafaty and Dokoro Gombe (alias S.M Dokoro). EFCC, through its prosecuting counsel, Wahab Shittu, said Goje, between September and November 2010, allegedly forged a document titled: ‘Resolution authorising His Excellency the Executive Governor of Gombe State to acquire loan of N5,000,000,000.00 only, with Ref. No: GM/HA/RES/VOL. 1/17’.
The commission said the resolution was purportedly signed by Clerk of the Gombe State House of Assembly, Shehu Atiku, with the intent that it be acted on as genuine by Access Bank Plc.
The N5 billion facility was obtained from Access Bank by the Goje administration for infrastructural projects.
EFCC said its investigation on the loan revealed that the purported House resolution authorising it was forged.
Ruling on Goje’s no-case submission, Justice O. B. Quadri, on March 22, dismissed 19 of the 21-count charge.
Goje filed an appeal to challenge the court’s refusal to up-hold his no-case submission in its entirety.
In its cross-appeal, EFCC said the lower court erred in numerous respects.
The commission said the lower court embarked on extensive evaluation of evidence, including the credibility of prosecution witnesses in its ruling.
“The court at the stage of no-case submission is not expected to consider credibility of witnesses or evaluate the evidence,” Shittu said.
Besides, he said the lower court ignored prima facie evidential materials contained in several exhibits tendered before court.
The EFCC counsel added that the court failed to consider that the N5 billion facility did not comply with rules for capital expenditure.
He said the court also ignored the fact that the purported resolution authorising the loan was forged.
After highlighting several other errors by the lower court, Shittu urged the Court of Appeal to set aside aspects of the ruling sustaining Goje’s no-case submission.
EFCC sought an order directing the defendants to enter their defence in respect of the counts for which they were discharged.